It was rediscovered in by R. Shamasastry , who published it in The title Arthashastra is often translated to "the science of politics", [14] [15] but the book Arthashastra has a broader scope. The Arthashastra explores issues of social welfare , the collective ethics that hold a society together, advising the king that in times and in areas devastated by famine, epidemic and such acts of nature, or by war, he should initiate public projects such as creating irrigation waterways and building forts around major strategic holdings and towns and exempt taxes on those affected.

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It was rediscovered in by R. Shamasastry , who published it in The title Arthashastra is often translated to "the science of politics", [14] [15] but the book Arthashastra has a broader scope.

The Arthashastra explores issues of social welfare , the collective ethics that hold a society together, advising the king that in times and in areas devastated by famine, epidemic and such acts of nature, or by war, he should initiate public projects such as creating irrigation waterways and building forts around major strategic holdings and towns and exempt taxes on those affected. The text was considered lost by colonial era scholars, until a manuscript was discovered in During , Shamasastry published English translations of the text in installments, in journals Indian Antiquary and Mysore Review.

During , Julius Jolly and Richard Schmidt published a new edition of the text, which was based on a Malayalam script manuscript in the Bavarian State Library. In the s, fragmented sections of a north Indian version of Arthashastra were discovered in form of a Devanagari manuscript in a Jain library in Patan , Gujarat.

A new edition based on this manuscript was published by Muni Jina Vijay in In , R. Kangle published a critical edition of the text, based on all the available manuscripts. The text is an ancient treatise written in 1st millennium BCE Sanskrit, coded, dense and can be interpreted in many ways, with English and Sanskrit being grammatically and syntactically different languages.

The authorship and date of writing are unknown, and there is evidence that the surviving manuscripts [ which? One can lose a war as easily as one can win. War is inherently unpredictable. War is also expensive. Avoid war. Try Upaya four strategies. Then Sadgunya six forms of non-war pressure. Understand the opponent and seek to outwit him. When everything fails, resort to military force. A notable structure of the treatise is that while all chapters are primarily prose, each transitions into a poetic verse towards its end, as a marker, a style that is found in many ancient Hindu Sanskrit texts where the changing poetic meter or style of writing is used as a syntax code to silently signal that the chapter or section is ending.

The division into 15, and of books, chapters and topics respectively was probably not accidental, states Olivelle, because ancient authors of major Hindu texts favor certain numbers, such as 18 Parvas in the epic Mahabharata. The entire book has about 5, sentences on politics, governance, welfare, economics, protecting key officials and king, gathering intelligence about hostile states, forming strategic alliances, and conduct of war, exclusive of its table of contents and the last epilogue-style book.

Stylistic differences within some sections of the surviving manuscripts suggest that it likely includes the work of several authors over the centuries. There is no doubt, states Olivelle, that "revisions, errors, additions and perhaps even subtractions have occurred" in Arthashastra since its final redaction in CE or earlier. The Arthasastra is mentioned and dozens of its verses have been found on fragments of manuscript treatises buried in ancient Buddhist monasteries of northwest China, Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan.

This includes the Spitzer Manuscript c. The author of Arthashastra uses the term gramakuta to describe a village official or chief, which, according to Thomas Burrow , suggests that he was a native of the region that encompasses present-day Gujarat and northern Maharashtra. Other evidences also support this theory: the text mentions that the shadow of a sundial disappears at noon during the month of Ashadha June-July , and that the day and night are equal during the months of Chaitra March-April and Ashvayuja September-October.

This is possible only in the areas lying along the Tropic of Cancer , which passes through central India, from Gujarat in the west to Bengal in the east.

The author of the text appears to be most familiar with the historical regions of Avanti and Ashmaka , which included parts of present-day Gujarat and Maharashtra. He provides precise annual rainfall figures for these historical regions in the text. Arthashastra is divided into 15 book titles, chapters and topics, as follows: [50]. The ancient Sanskrit text opens, in chapter 2 of Book 1 the first chapter is table of contents , by acknowledging that there are a number of extant schools with different theories on proper and necessary number of fields of knowledge, and asserts they all agree that the science of government is one of those fields.

The school of Usanas asserts, states the text, that there is only one necessary knowledge, the science of government because no other science can start or survive without it.

The Arthashastra then posits its own theory that there are four necessary fields of knowledge, the Vedas , the Anvikshaki philosophy of Samkhya , Yoga and Lokayata , [note 2] the science of government and the science of economics Varta of agriculture, cattle and trade. It is from these four that all other knowledge, wealth and human prosperity is derived. Without government, rises disorder as in the Matsya nyayamud bhavayati proverb on law of fishes. In the absence of governance, the strong will swallow the weak.

In the presence of governance, the weak resists the strong. The best king is the Raja- rishi , the sage king. The Raja-rishi has self-control and does not fall for the temptations of the senses, he learns continuously and cultivates his thoughts, he avoids false and flattering advisors and instead associates with the true and accomplished elders, he is genuinely promoting the security and welfare of his people, he enriches and empowers his people, he practices ahimsa [ citation needed ] non-violence against all living beings , he lives a simple life and avoids harmful people or activities, he keeps away from another's wife nor craves for other people's property.

Book 1 and Book 2 of the text discusses how the crown prince should be trained and how the king himself should continue learning, selecting his key Mantri ministers , officials, administration, staffing of the court personnel, magistrates and judges. Topic 2 of the Arthashastra, or chapter 5 of Book 1, is dedicated to the continuous training and development of the king, where the text advises that he maintain a counsel of elders, from each field of various sciences, whose accomplishments he knows and respects.

Kautilya, after describing the conflicting views on how to select officials, asserts that a king should select his Amatyah ministers and high officials based on the capacity to perform that they have shown in their past work, the character and their values that is accordance with the role.

The Arthashastra, in Topic 6, describes checks and continuous measurement, in secret, of the integrity and lack of integrity of all ministers and high officials in the kingdom. Those who are unrighteous, should not work in civil and criminal courts.

Those who lack integrity in financial matters or fall for the lure of money must not be in revenue collection or treasury, states the text, and those who lack integrity in sexual relationships must not be appointed to Vihara services pleasure grounds. Chapter 9 of Book 1 suggests the king to maintain a council and a Purohit chaplain, spiritual guide for his personal counsel.

The Purohit , claims the text, must be one who is well educated in the Vedas and its six Angas. The Arthashastra, in Topic , Book 7 lists the causes of disaffection, lack of motivation and increase in economic distress among people. It opens by stating that wherever "good people are snubbed, and evil people are embraced" distress increases. Anywhere, states Arthashastra in verse 7. A state, asserts Arthashastra text in verses 7.

In verse 7. It is power and power alone which, only when exercised by the king with impartiality and in proportion to guilt either over his son or his enemy, maintains both this world and the next. The just and victorious king administers justice in accordance with Dharma established law , Sanstha customary law , Nyaya edicts, announced law and Vyavahara evidence, conduct. Book 3 of the Arthashastra, according to Trautmann, is dedicated to civil law, including sections relating to economic relations of employer and employee, partnerships, sellers and buyers.

The ancient text stipulates that the courts have a panel of three pradeshtri magistrates for handling criminal cases, and this panel is different, separate and independent of the panel of judges of civil court system it specifies for a Hindu kingdom. The text discusses marriage and consent laws in Books 3 and 4. It asserts, in chapter 4. However, if she marries a man her father arranges or approves of, she has the right to take the ornaments with her.

In chapter 3. The chapter 2 of Book 3 of Arthashastra legally recognizes eight types of marriage. The bride is given the maximum property inheritance rights when the parents select the groom and the girl consents to the selection Brahma marriage , and minimal if bride and groom marry secretly as lovers Gandharva marriage without the approval of her father and her mother.

Arthashastra states that forests be protected and recommends that the state treasury be used to feed animals such as horses and elephants that are too old for work, sick or injured. In Topic 19, chapter 2, the text suggests:.

In topic 35, the text recommends that the "Superintendent of Forest Produce" appointed by the state for each forest zone be responsible for maintaining the health of the forest, protecting forests to assist wildlife such as elephants hastivana , but also producing forest products to satisfy economic needs, products such as Teak, Palmyra, Mimosa, Sissu, Kauki, Sirisha, Catechu, Latifolia, Arjuna, Tilaka, Tinisa, Sal, Robesta, Pinus, Somavalka, Dhava, Birch, bamboo, hemp, Balbaja used for ropes , Munja, fodder, firewood, bulbous roots and fruits for medicine, flowers.

The Arthashastra dedicates Topics 30 through 47 discussing the role of government in setting up mines and factories, [91] gold and precious stone workshops, [92] commodities, [93] forest produce, [94] armory, [95] standards for balances and weight measures, [96] standards for length and time measures, [96] customs, [97] agriculture, [98] liquor, [98] abattoirs and courtesans, [99] shipping, [] domesticated animals such as cattle, horses and elephants along with animal welfare when they are injured or too old, [] pasture land, [] military preparedness [] and intelligence gathering operations of the state.

To undermine a ruling oligarchy, make chiefs of the [enemy's] ruling council infatuated with women possessed of great beauty and youth. When passion is roused in them, they should start quarrels by creating belief about their love in one and by going to another. The Arthashastra dedicates many chapters on the need, methods and goals of secret service, and how to build then use a network of spies that work for the state.

The spies should be trained to adopt roles and guises, to use coded language to transmit information, and be rewarded by their performance and the results they achieve, states the text. The roles and guises recommended for Vyanjana appearance agents by the Arthashastra include ascetics, forest hermits, mendicants, cooks, merchants, doctors, astrologers, consumer householders, entertainers, dancers, female agents and others.

The goals of the secret service, in Arthashastra, was to test the integrity of government officials, spy on cartels and population for conspiracy, to monitor hostile kingdoms suspected of preparing for war or in war against the state, to check spying and propaganda wars by hostile states, to destabilize enemy states, to get rid of troublesome powerful people who could not be challenged openly. The Arthashastra dedicates Book 7 and 10 to war, and considers numerous scenarios and reasons for war.

When the degree of progress is the same in pursuing peace and waging war, peace is to be preferred. For, in war, there are disadvantages such as losses, expenses and absence from home.

Kautilya, in the Arthashastra, suggests that the state must always be adequately fortified, its armed forces prepared and resourced to defend itself against acts of war. Kautilya favors peace over war, because he asserts that in most situations, peace is more conducive to creation of wealth, prosperity and security of the people.

All means to win a war are appropriate in the Arthashastra, including assassination of enemy leaders, sowing discord in its leadership, engagement of covert men and women in the pursuit of military objectives and as weapons of war, deployment of accepted superstitions and propaganda to bolster one's own troops or to demoralize enemy soldiers, as well as open hostilities by deploying kingdom's armed forces.

The Arthashastra theories are similar with some and in contrast to other alternate theories on war and peace in the ancient Indian tradition.

For example, states Brekke, the legends in Hindu epics preach heroism qua heroism which is in contrast to Kautilya suggestion of prudence and never forgetting the four Hindu goals of human life , while Kamandaki's Nitisara , which is similar to Kautilya's Arthashastra , is among other Hindu classics on statecraft and foreign policy that suggest prudence, engagement and diplomacy, peace is preferable and must be sought, and yet prepared to excel and win war if one is forced to.

The Arthashastra discusses a mixed economy, where private enterprise and state enterprise frequently competed side by side, in agriculture, animal husbandry, forest produce, mining, manufacturing and trade. As one plucks one ripe fruit after another from a garden, so should the king from his kingdom. Out of fear for his own destruction, he should avoid unripe ones, which give rise to revolts. Arthashastra stipulates restraint on taxes imposed, fairness, the amounts and how tax increases should is implemented.

Further, state Waldauer et al. Kautilya's discussion of taxation and expenditure gave expression to three Indian principles: taxing power [of state] is limited; taxation should not be felt to be heavy or exclusive [discriminatory]; tax increases should be graduated.

Agriculture on privately owned land was taxed at the rate of The text has been translated and interpreted by Shamashastry, Kangle, Trautmann and many others. Scholars state that the Arthashastra was influential in Asian history. Kautilya's patron Chandragupta Maurya consolidated an empire which was inherited by his son Bindusara and then his grandson Ashoka. In , a few years after the newly discovered Arthashastra manuscript's translation was first published, Max Weber stated:.

Truly radical "Machiavellianism", in the popular sense of that word, is classically expressed in Indian literature in the Arthashastra of Kautilya written long before the birth of Christ, ostensibly in the time of Chandragupta : compared to it, Machiavelli's The Prince is harmless. More recent scholarship has disagreed with the characterization of Arthashastra as "Machiavellianism".

The text advocates "land reform", states Brians, where land is taken from landowners and farmers who own land but do not grow anything for a long time, and given to poorer farmers who want to grow crops but do not own any land. Arthashastra declares, in numerous occasions, the need for empowering the weak and poor in one's kingdom, a sentiment that is not found in Machiavelli; Arthashastra, states Brians, advises "the king shall provide the orphans, the aged, the infirm, the afflicted, and the helpless with maintenance [welfare support].



Kautilya's Arthashastra is a book about economics written by Kautilya. The word No Suggestions originates from a primeval Indian dissertation that discussed how the economy and military affairs of a state should function. The dissertation was written in Sanskrit by Chanakya, the teacher to the founder of the Mauryan Empire. The book talks about the science of amassing wealth. The author emphasizes that the king should offer no reason for his actions and should go to any extent to attain wealth. The subjects would be prone to punishments unlike the king.


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Kautilya's Arthashastra is an excellent treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy. In Arthashastra, Kautilya mixes the harsh pragmatism for which he is famed with compassion for the poor, for slaves, and for women. He reveals the imagination of a romancer in imagining all manner of scenarios which can hardly have been commonplace in real life. It discusses the ethics of economics and the duties and obligations of a king. This work was published before January 1, , and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least years ago.


The Arthashastra




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